The judges of the Supreme Court and the 24 high courts may soon get a fatter pay packet as the union cabinet is likely to consider a proposal in this regard tomorrow. The then Chief Justice of India T S Thakur had written to the government in 2016 seeking a hike in salaries of Supreme Court and high court judges. The High Court and the Supreme Court Judges (Salaries and Conditions of Service) Amendment Bill may come up in the winter session of Parliament. A Supreme Court judge at present gets Rs 1.5 lakh a month in hand after all deductions from salary and allowances. The CJI gets a higher amount than this, while the judges of the high courts get a lesser amount. This amount does not include the rent-free residences provided to the judges while they are in service. After the recommendations of the Seventh Pay Commission, the matter was already under the consideration of the government.
The government had substantially accepted the proposal and had agreed to increase the CJI’s monthly salary to Rs 2.8 lakh, excluding allowances, and that of Supreme Court judges to Rs 2.5 lakh. The government had also contemplated increasing the salary of high court CJs to Rs 2.5 lakh a month and that of high court judges to Rs 2.25 lakh a month. The three-judge committee had proposed a salary of Rs 3 lakh a month for the CJI. The judges will get arrears as the hike will be effective from retrospective effect. As against the approved strength of 31 the Supreme Court today has 25 judges. The high courts have an approved strength of 1,079, but 682 judges are today handling work in 24 high courts.